NMC CBT Test Centre Update

NMC CBT Test Centre Update

NMC CBT Test Centre Update

Internationally educated professionals must take a two-part test of competence before joining the NMC register, to ensure that they have the right knowledge and skills to provide high-quality care in the UK. The first part is a computer-based test (CBT), and the second part is a practical test (OSCE) in the UK.

NMC Update:

On behalf of the NMC, an organisation called Pearson VUE runs CBT. Pearson VUE alerted the anomalous data at one of its third-party CBT test centres in Ibadan, Nigeria. Pearson VUE immediately stopped testing at this centre.

A total of 512 people on the NMC register (around five percent of all the professionals on the NMC register who qualified in Nigeria) took their CBT at this test centre. NMC wrote to inform them of what happened and told them that cases were opened to determine whether or not fraudulent or incorrect entry to the register was gained.

More people have applied to join the register but are not yet on it, therefore they cannot practise as a nurse or midwives. NMC paused their applications. NMC wrote to these applicants to ask them to retake the test, and to request more information that would be used to make a final decision about their application. NMC’s paramount concern is to maintain the integrity of the register to protect the public. At the same time, they approached all the investigations about individuals objectively and transparently, avoiding any unfair discrimination.

It is also important to remember that NMC has not made any determinations about individuals yet.

Pearson VUE reviewed all data relating to the NMC’s CBT from every test site globally, and there was no evidence of similar activity at any other site.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive, and Registrar, said:

“Data from one test site in Nigeria is unusual and concerning. We have regulatory processes which we will now follow, and if necessary, we can refuse registration or remove people from our register, to protect the public and people who use health and care services.”

“We know the public and people who use services may find this worrying. This affects just over 500 out of the 771,445 professionals on our register. They will all have passed the practical test in this country before they were accepted onto the register and to date no concerns have been referred to us about their fitness to practise.”

“We should remember that thousands of nurses and midwives who were educated overseas have safely joined our register recently and continue to provide safe, effective, and kind care across the UK.”

People also ask
What is the CBT?

NMC uses a Test of Competence (ToC) to assess the skills and knowledge of people who apply to join their register from overseas.

This has two main parts. A multiple-choice computer-based test known as the CBT and a practical test known as the OSCE. Applicants take CBT in their home country usually and people take OSCE in the UK.

There are two parts to CBT. Part A covers numeracy, and Part B covers clinical questions for nursing or midwifery.

A company called Pearson VUE runs CBT. They introduced the test in 2014 and since then they have been the test provider.

How many tests were taken at the Ibadan centre?

At this centre, 1,970 candidates took their CBT, of whom 512 are on the NMC register.

What action was taken since these concerns came to light?

Pearson VUE immediately suspended tests at the Ibadan centre. The NMC has since been working urgently with them to examine data and evidence about this. The NMC scrutinises the full applications of those who have joined the register.

NMC wrote to some applicants and professionals on their register to set out what has happened and what it means for them. NMC also opens some cases to determine whether individuals gained fraudulent or incorrect entries to the register.

Should they retake their test?

NMC gives people the option to retake and the test provider covers the exam fee of the candidate. The NMC can’t make people re-sit – it will be their decision. If somebody does retake and passes, it won’t guarantee that they’ll gain entry to the register or be able to stay on it. But it will form part of the information that NMC will use to make a final decision.

Does NMC impose interim suspension orders?

To determine whether or not individuals gained incorrect or fraudulent entry to the register NMC opens the need for interim orders on an evidenced basis as part of each case.

What risk is there to patients and people who use services?

NMC will look into the concerns and if necessary to manage risk, NMC will apply panels to restrict individuals’ practice.

In the meantime, it’s worth remembering they will have been subject to additional controls including:

1. Sitting the practical OSCE exam, in person, in the UK
2. In-person identity and documentation verification
3. English language checks.

At this stage, the NMC confirms, no fitness to practise concerns are raised about anyone on the register in this group. But clearly, if someone gains entry to the register incorrectly or fraudulently, NMC will take action.

What does this mean for the individuals affected?

NMC investigates individuals objectively and transparently, avoiding any unfair discrimination. NMC has not yet made any determinations about individuals. Individuals can work unless NMC decides to order sufficient evidence to seek an interim suspension.

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